Kottigehara: It’s an annual affair for devotees to embark on a pilgrimage to the Sabarimala temple in Kerala to offer prayers to Lord Ayyappa. Just like every year, this time too, a group of 13 Ayyappa devotees undertook a barefoot pilgrimage to the temple for the ongoing Mandala Puja festival.

However, soon a 14th member decided to join the group and turns out that new member was a stray dog, who had been diligently following them. So much so, that the canine tirelessly walked 480 km so far till Sunday.

As per a video released by ANI, the dog can be seen walking side-by-side with the devotees, crossing villages and towns. Watch it here:

 

The devotees started from Andhra Pradesh’s Tirumala on October 31 and reached Chikkamagaluru district’s Kottigehara on Sunday evening. The group, undertaking the pilgrimage, said they did not notice the dog at first, but it kept following them.

“We didn’t notice the dog at first. But as we continued, it kept showing up behind us every now & then. We offer it the food we prepare for ourselves. We perform Sabarimala pilgrimage every year but it’s a new experience”, the pilgrims told ANI.

Meanwhile, during the course of the long journey, the dog sustained injuries to its paws a couple of times and was treated by local veterinarians. Seeing the dog’s dedication, the devotees have now decided to take the dog along with them all the way up to Sabarimala. Such a spiritual dog, right?

The Sabarimala temple opened on Saturday for the 41-day-pilgrimage season, amid tight security in Pathanamthitta district in Kerala, with several devotees thronging the temple.